Today, the UN Security Council marks 20 years since the historic vote that recognized, for the first time, the unique impact conflict has on women and the critical role they play in conflict prevention and resolution. The Council will convene its annual Open Debate on resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security to ensure a COVID-19 response that is truly inclusive and rooted in the power of women-led peace, as a transformative opportunity towards a more, sustainable and equitable world. Watch the debate on 29 October, at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, a ground-breaking resolution that was spearheaded by women leaders and organizations. It is the first resolution that recognized women’s leadership to achieve international peace and security and their contributions to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The implementation of women, peace and security priorities is a key political commitment in the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which reaffirms that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes and political solutions is essential for effective peacekeeping and sustainable peace outcomes.
While multiple gains have been made to strengthen women’s participation over the years, whether as peacekeepers or as leaders in their own country’s peace and political processes, 20 years and ten resolutions later, it is clear that much more remains to be done. Women leaders across diverse networks and organizations continue to lead conflict resolution and informally broker peace at regional, national and community levels and conduct political advocacy to realize their full participation in peace and political processes. However, women remain predominantly in the periphery of formal peace processes, even in instances where they have been signatories to peace agreements, such as in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Women, Peace and Security during COVID-19
Women leaders are on the frontlines responding to COVID-19 and helping mitigate the political risks associated with the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic jeopardizes recent gains on women’s participation in peace and political processes and has already placed women and girls at greater risk of poverty and violence, including the already recorded spikes in sexual and gender-based violence.
We are at a crossroads: either we lose hard-fought gains on women’s rights and sustainable peace, or we emerge more equal, resilient and on a road to lasting and inclusive peace. Ensuring women’s equal and meaningful participation in all areas of peace and security is vital to responding to this crisis and creating a better and more sustainable world.
The Department of Peace Operations remains committed to the implementation of women, peace and security mandates, in particular the full and meaningful participation of women in decision-making, and has adjusted priorities to respond to the immediate COVID-19 crisis through a range of political, prevention and mitigation measures.
Women peacekeepers are on the front lines in this fight and an integral part of implementing mission mandates, within current constraints and while taking all precautionary measures.
Peacekeeping operations continue to significantly leverage their current partnerships with national authorities and women’s organizations, leaders and networks. This includes advancing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and finding creative ways to accelerate women’s meaningful participation in political processes, such as through elections, by supporting formal mechanisms to implement peace agreements and forming local governance and protection structures in different contexts.